Festivals, Cultural and City Events

7. Prediction is that there will be lasting damage to mental as well as physical health as a result of the pandemic. Can the arts contribute to helping people stay well?


Video: Edinburgh Culture Conversations Week 7 v2
Recording of the Edinburgh Culture Conversations Week 7

Culture and Wellbeing

Research is evidencing that coronavirus has had a devastating impact on mental health. In a MIND survey of 16,000 people during lockdown, two out of three (65%) adults over 25 and three-quarters (75%) of young people aged 13-24 with an existing mental health problem reported worse mental health. Do the arts have a role to play in helping reverse this trend?


Professor Siddharthan Chandran

At the University of Edinburgh, Professor Siddharthan Chandran is Director of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences; Director of Edinburgh Neuroscience; Director of the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research; co-Director, with Prof Charles ffrench-Constant, of the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic and the MS Society Edinburgh Centre for MS Research and Programme Lead for the UK Dementia Research Institute 

Christine Devaney

Christine Devaney was born in Glasgow and trained at London Contemporary Dance and has been performing, choreographing, directing and teaching throughout her extensive career, which started with Dundee Rep Dance Company (Scottish Dance Theatre). She performed and was Associate Director with V-tol Dance Company for 9 years, and since 2005 has been Artistic Director of Edinburgh-based dance theatre company, Curious Seed

Susanna Eastburn MBE

Susanna Eastburn is Chief Executive of Sound and Music. Previous roles include Director, Music at Arts Council England and Artistic Director of Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.  She is Chair of Orchestras for All and a Trustee of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. In 2018 she received an MBE for services to music.

Andrew Eaton Lewis

Andrew Eaton-Lewis has been Arts Lead for the Mental Health Foundation for 5 years, developing new work for the annual Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival . His projects have included The Dust of Everyday Life,  Declaration,  and the Mental Health Fringe Award, a prize recognising outstanding new work exploring mental health. He also works as an events programmer, theatre producer, writer, editor, and PR consultant.

Dr Daisy Fancourt

Dr Daisy Fancourt is Associate Professor of Psychobiology & Epidemiology at University College London where she leads a research group focusing on the effects of social, cultural and community engagement on health. Daisy is also a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, a BBC New Generation Thinker, and consultant to the World Health Organisation on arts and health.

Jackie Wylie

Jackie Wylie is Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland.  She founded Take Me Somewhere, a Glasgow wide international performance festival based at the Tramway. She was Artistic Director of The Arches in Glasgow from 2008 – 2015. Previously she worked in film and television production.  She was a fellow of the Clore Leadership programme in 2016/17.


Due to unforeseen circumstances Dr Daisy Fancourt and Professor Siddharthan Chandran were unable to take part in this event.



7. Prediction is that there will be lasting damage to mental as well as physical health as a result of the pandemic. Can the arts contribute to helping people stay well?

Seventh in the series of talks to take place on Monday 24th August at 6pm. Produced by the University of Edinburgh's Festivals, Culture and City Events Team and hosted by Director, Janet Archer. Recording of the event available here